While I might be a little old to be seeing movies like Cars 3, there is something nostalgic about them. So while I’ve outgrown them as far as age, I’ve still made an effort to see the latest ones, because—well, race cars.
But after seeing the latest Cars movie and the overwhelming sense of “you go gurlllll” propaganda shoved down your throat in the last 15 minutes of the movie, I’m sincerely hoping that Cars 3 ends the trilogy for good and doesn’t spin the newest “star” into a new series.
What was once a great movie for young boys to enjoy that focused just on sport, competition, and friendship is now filled with an attempt to brainwash young men into thinking that women are superior—even if they don’t deserve it.
The Former Cars Movies
Before I start discussing Cars 3, let’s have a quick recap of the first two movies that preceded it—both of which were rated very positively overall, and did have pretty solid life lessons in it for young men.
The first Cars movie was about a young, hotshot racer whose enormous racing skills nearly matched his enormous ego. The entire movie was based on the typical professional sports story—young upstart begins to beat everybody, the older veterans can’t take it, but eventually the youngster is served a piece of humble pie before bouncing back with a lesser ego.
Cars 2 was based on loyalty, friendship and ended with some James Bond-esque spy scenes as the characters ran through London to defuse a bomb about to blow up the palace.
You can look at either of those first two movies and say that it’s a story that young boys can enjoy, and that the messages told by either are relatively positive towards cultivating some sense of masculinity, brotherhood, or simple sense of good. Plus, race cars.
Cars 3 Starts Well, But…
It goes south in the last minutes of the film, which is a shame. Boys are basically told—you’re not good enough, and you have to move over for a girl, now. The main character, Lightning McQueen, is now at the end of his racing career.
Much like how he was the up-and-coming hotshot in the original movie, Lightning is now being de-staged by some new future generation cars. He’s getting his ass whooped, and goes down the rabbit hole to try to figure out how to be faster. His team is bought out, he gets some fancy new simulators, as well as a new personal trainer—Cruz Ramirez, voiced by Cristela Alonzo.
Needless to say, Alonzo won’t be playing a personal trainer in any role but a voice-over anytime soon:
A Poor Message
McQueen’s comeback story is reminiscent of the typical professional sports athlete who sticks around a bit too much and tries to regain his former glory. Think Michael Jordan on the Wizards, Lance Armstrong ruining his career by coming back, or Michael Schumacher’s fruitless return to Formula 1.
McQueen’s comeback story is obviously possible with the Hollywood scripting. With the help of Cruz’s “training“, some old-school dirt track demolition derby, and guts and determination—McQueen gets to the point where he’s at his final race. He starts last and works his way through the field. Again, it’s a good lesson in there for young men (even if it’s not applicable to aging athletes)—work hard, persevere, and eventually it pays off.
Then it all falls apart. When he comes in for his first pit stop, he has a moment. It’s during this moment that he decides that he will have Cruz come into the race replacing him, and he will retire and become a crew chief. Effectively immediately.
Yes, the female car who has never raced in her life (who told him previously that was her dream). The female car who looks strikingly like McQueen, yet the whole story has been based on how McQueen’s old and outdated technology (aerodynamics, i.e. looks) can’t keep up with the cars of the future.
It’s this sudden change that sends the message to young girls of, “You’re beautiful no matter what.”
And it says to the young boys, “This is the way that life is. No matter what, you are going to be upstaged by girls because you are inferior.” Unlike the first Cars movie, there was no mentorship (that’s how McQueen was first humbled). There was no sign of guts and hard work on her part—she just ran around the whole moving, following him. The girl car just came in the race, took over, and that was that. The irony is made even greater by the fact that it’s the land whale Cruz who is playing the personal trainer.
Not only is the veteran male racer upstaged by someone with no merits—it’s someone who embodies the same physical qualities that was making Lightning McQueen fall short of his racing goals. It sends a poor message regarding body image to both boys and girls.
Cars 3 says that ultimately your physical looks don’t matter—you’ll still win at life, despite this. Even if you’re fat and out of shape, you can still win races. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A Female In Racing Who Doesn’t Deserve Her Ride
As someone who actually follows racing on a professional level, I couldn’t help but laugh. After all, people have been fighting for equality in racing for a long time. Danica Patrick was supposed to be the savior—the female talent who could finally knock the boys off.
Of course, Patrick has a top-tier ride in NASCAR, with full funding and the best equipment available. Throughout her career, spanning 171 starts, she has managed to finish in the Top 10 exactly seven times. And never in the Top 5.
Meanwhile her teammate Kevin Harvick, in identical equipment, has finished in the Top 10 ten times this year alone (out of 17 races). Second teammate Kurt Busch has eight Top 10s. Third teammate Clint Bowyer, in his first year on the team, has seven.
Danica Patrick is the perfect example of a female who is where she is in racing because of her good looks, not because of any actual ability she possesses behind the wheel. Cruz Ramirez is the same thing—a girl who gets an undeserving opportunity (except she obviously wins the race in the movie).
What kind of message does this send to young boys? That you should just move over and let the girls pass you by. That even if you work hard and are deserving, you don’t matter. That girls are better, and it doesn’t matter how they look. That equality doesn’t really exist in the “workspace”—girls are going to be given opportunities simply because they have a slit in between their legs.
Even my Ukrainian girlfriend, who is hardly familiar with the poisons of feminism, remarked to me (unprovoked), “I don’t get it—what did she do to deserve that win? She didn’t…do anything.”
While I enjoyed the movie overall, the ending was impossible for me to look past, and it disgusts me how many young boys are going to be influenced by this movie. In another life, if I wasn’t unplugged, I wouldn’t have given a second thought about it. The timeline when the original Cars came out, or even Cars 2, I would have never realized this. But I know better now.
The obvious attempt to draw girls into the Cars franchise by staging a female winning the race may or may not work for Disney and Pixar. Girls aren’t that interested in cars—they want to dress up like a princess and play house—not get oil under their nails (exceptions obviously). It’d be nice if Hollywood would quit trying to fuck with the minds of young kids, but it’s never going to happen.
Right now, the message they want to instill into the minds of young boys with is simply this: You’re not good enough.